Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Strategic Content Analysis (Part – 4)
Hello readers, hope that you have all enjoyed the week very well so far. In my last article, I discussed the preparation materials and tried to provide a comparison. I have today prepared a very special article for an over-all GRE strategy where we would learn to manage time, know some names of great online resources for GRE preparation and then we will learn about mock tests and how to interpret them.
Before I dive into it any more, let’s take a look at what kind of “time-frame” are we dealing with here. Extracted them all from a great source called Princeton Review, here is the break-down of time table of GRE test:
|Biographical Information||+/- 10 mins||—|
|Issue Essay||30 mins||1|
|Argument Essay||30 mins||1|
|Verbal Reasoning (2 sections)||30 mins each||20 each|
|Quantitative Reasoning (2 sections)||35 mins each||20 each|
|Experimental Section (unscored)||30 or 35 mins*||Varies|
|1 Break||10 minutes||—|
|Possible Research Section||Optional||Depends|
|Select Schools/Programs||5 mins||Up to 4|
|Accept Scores||1 min||—|
|Receive Scores||1 min||—|
In the Princeton Review website, there has been mentioned about four (04) strategies such as:
- Skip Difficult questions and return to them later
- Use the process of elimination
- Don’t work a problem to death
- Pick one letter to be your “guessing” letter
Now, these are four strategies provided by the Princeton Review, now let’s talk about my own.
It may be wise to skip the difficult question for the time being. However, getting back to those questions will also be difficult given the hectic circumstance. Let me elaborate on this a little bit. When a candidate face the GRE test, he or she gets two things in their head. One is “I have to make a certain score” and another is “I have to answer all the questions before the time finishes up”. Due to these dilemma, any candidate fall victim of “test anxiety” and thus nervousness. In this circumstance, an easy question gets hard in no time, let alone a really hard question.
Nevertheless, in that scenario, the fourth (4th) strategy or guessing game will work really great, because there is no negative marking in GRE, ie. If your answer is wrong, no mark will get deducted. So, whatever feels impenetrable to you, just waste no more time and give an answer. But read carefully once first, may be twice, but not more than that. Don’t try to leave any question behind like it is suggested in the Princeton Review, because it will simply not happen, ie, you most possibly will not get the time to get back and think about it twice. And if you leave a question behind for later like that, it will also unnecessarily increase your pressure in the next questions because you will constantly think that “I have to get back to the previous question after I finish the rest, which I confirmed that I can’t answer in the first place”. Just remember one thing, what you know, you know; and what you don’t know, you don’t know. It never makes any sense (especially for Verbal part) that you don’t know something when you first read, but when next time you read it, you will know about it. Things don’t happen like that. So, my suggestion, don’t leave anything behind in the Verbal part. Simply go for it, whether you know about it or not. Don’t leave anything behind, for two reasons. First, it will unnecessarily increase your pressure for the next questions. Second, when you come back to that question and read it twice for the second time, it will simply waste your time, because you will (in most cases) still won’t understand the question content.
Please don’t get me wrong, there are some rare cases where you will understand the question content better or even understand the answer when you read for the second time. But that is not the general scenario. Cases like that have to be judged by the candidate himself.
Finally, I would like every one of you to be warned that if you don’t have more than sufficient reading experiences and did not already grow a substantial reading habit from the international sources, you will never score above 155 in verbal part, regardless how many thousands of words do you gulp clulessly or how many reference books do you finish up.
For Quantitative part, I will simply suggest you one thing, which is PRACTICE your heart out. If you have proper practice and a vivid concept regarding the topics, you will have no difficulties answering them all. However, if you lack practice and conception, no matter how good you are at mathematical operations, you will fall dumb-struck during the test, trust me on this. Apart from various GRE guide books, there are a lot of great online resources available. I am mentioning some of them below:
—- And others if possible.
Now, let’s talk about some paid online sites that would be worth your while:
- For the beginners – Kaplan
- Within a reasonable price – Magoosh
- Best for both beginner and advanced – Prep-scholar
- For a long-term preparation and gradual development – Testmasters
- For advanced preparation – Princeton Review
- For a bit more advanced preparation – Manhattan Prep
While we are so hung up on preparation, it is also important to judge ourselves and our positions before the real test happens. For that, some mock tests are mandatory to say the least. For mock tests, we should try the following sources:
- Manhattan Prep Online Prep-test
- Princeton Test
- ETS test
- Kaplan Test
- Magoosh Test
- And others if possible.
The materials must be selective. We must know what makes a good material. Prep materials which are by those publishers who has direct or indirect access to the real GRE test questions. Institutes like ETS, Manhattan or Princeton are those institutions. Therefore following them would not only be beneficial but also be a smart choice in more ways than one.
That’s it for today. In the next article, I will specially emphasis on “time management” and some other strategies related to practice both Verbal and Quantitative part.
Till then, happy reading.